Nick Autiello, Contributor
The notion that homosexuality is a sin and un-Christian is one that is less than a hundred years old. It is wrong, and has no basis in scriptural or historical reality.
James Sasso, Associate Editor
As the tumultuous 2011 comes down to its final day, this column could contain an obnoxious summary of the year’s extraordinary events. Rather than once again discussing the protests around the world, the death of Osama Bin Laden, Fukushima, America’s political ineptitude, Europe’s demise or the increasingly frightful weather patterns, here I attempt to predict what 2012 holds in store.
James Sasso, Associate Editor
For one of the first times in his tenure as Speaker, John Boehner has made a statement with which every American, Republican or Democrat, should fully agree; the two-month Senate bipartisan extension of the payroll tax cut fails to fix the nation’s problems sufficiently. Providing a short-term band-aid to a long-term dilemma contradicts what a responsible government should accomplish, but fits the pattern of contemporary American politicking.
Mitt Romney is guilty of serial hypocrisy, Newt Gingrich is guilty of being a public intellectual constantly scrutinized by the media and others, and Ron Paul never ceases to remind me about one of my favorite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”
Josh Akman, Columnist
Jon Huntsman did not participate in the CNN Debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday night. Short of his family and small (and getting smaller) campaign staff, no one really noticed. In a bizarre and counterproductive effort to impress New Hampshire voters Huntsman skipped the debate to protest Nevada moving its caucus ahead of New Hampshire’s, which has always been the nation’s first primary. It’s bizarre because no one else skipped the debate. It’s counterproductive because right now, Jon Huntsman is polling 6% in New Hampshire.
For the past month a movement has grown out of Zuccoti Park in New York with the potential to grab at the very heart of America’s problems. “We are the 99%” is not simply a catchy phrase used by frustrated jobless Americans , but a commentary on the disgraceful economic inequality that has arisen in the United States since the 1970s.
Though emerging markets are increasing shares in consumption and output may simply be attributable to a scale of population, the true power of many emerging economies will be realized as they are tested by time. How can the American economy, which has enjoyed being at the top of the global heap for nearly a century, accommodate and work with these emerging economies to bolster its own position? Politics will surely play a large role.
John Cusick, Contributor
From January 10th to 20th, a group of John Jay College students and I went to Cairo, Egypt with the group called Youth International Empowerment, on what was the group’s first trip, to facilitate social empowerment workshops with high school students. Although most of my group had to leave on the 20th due to the revolution, we stayed in contact with many of the Egyptian students with whom we had worked.
Jochen Kiesow, Guest Columnist
In the second part in a two part series, Kiesow advocates that international pressure should be used to make the Sri Lankan government more accountable to its citizenry.
Kathleen McCaffrey, Editor
Singapore was led to prosperity by the capitalist “socialists” in the People’s Action Party (PAP). Now that the PAP have been hotly contested, McCaffrey fears that the weaknesses of publicly-owned government will weaken Singapore.
Today people are trying to understand why Angela Merkel’s government seems indifferent to the plight of the Libyans. They talk about Germany’s involvement in Kosovo and shake their heads at Merkel’s response. The French, of all people, they say, are taking the lead this time.
Germans are actually a rather insular bunch of people who prefer to think about how to preserve their own community rather than exporting their values to the rest of the world. This is because Germany is still struggling to understand its own values. This may be kind of surprising, since the war ended a while ago.
The upcoming referendum in the United Kingdom asks voters wheter the country should switch to an alternate voting system that would allow voters to rank their prefers candidates for Parliament. The problem is that such elections undermine the one-man-one-vote paradigm of modern democracy.
Jonathan Neumann, Columnist
It is time the world learned that the UN is the arbiter neither of moral rectitude nor of the limits of realpolitik.
The arms race that characterized the Cold War of the 20th century seems like a mere vestige of history to those of us in the internet generation. In the post-Cold War world, news media tends to underplay that the knowledge and ability to transport nuclear arms is still central to the political climate of many countries as it was to the US and the USSR in the later half of the past century. Today, nuclear arms are a profitable business that require political maneuvers to circumvent regulations – which almost always fail to stop their proliferation.
Chadwick Ciocci, Columnist
The complexity and unpredictability of the Libyan conflict necessitates that America adopt a non-interventionist policy and permit natural events to take their course in the Middle East.
As an American who is now spending his second semester in Berlin, I have often heard about, but only rarely seen, people with fascist symbols and slogans. I have seen the occasional black-clothed skinhead, but I don’t normally see neo-Nazis during my daily routine, and this lack of presence, combined with all the hype surrounding them, made me morbidly curious to know more. I wanted to know how seeing them in their full organization would make me feel and what conclusions I would make. And then an opportunity presented itself on February 19th in Dresden.
Since the 1980s, when one third of their population fell below the poverty line, the nation of Ireland has seen tremendous growth. This is a testament to the glory of a nation of people who had been purged of autonomy for hundreds of years. In fact, Ireland was one of the richest countries in the world in 2006. Maybe that had something to do with a fifth of the workforce employed to build houses; or that rents had fallen to less than one percent of the purchase price; or that in ten years lending to construction had risen from eight percent of Irish lending to twenty-eight percent. Really, though, it just seems like the Irish were destined for prosperity. Finally, after years of turmoil, the Irish had had financial greatness thrust upon them!
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s political troubles are temporary. As the UK emerges from the recession and the pain of Cameron’s cuts receedes, Cameron will be well positioned to maintain a grip on Parliament for the foreseeable future and perhaps beyond.
At issue is the misconstruction of ‘democracy’. Indeed so vaunted is the democratic right that it is unimpeachable: constantly, vulgar observers (in Britain at least, and imaginably across the Occident) insist on the viability of self-nurtured democracy in Egypt and across the Arab world, and further demand that the Arab choice in these anticipated elections be assured recognition and respect by the erstwhile regime’s patrons. The first claim is valid, if cutely naïve. The second claim is imbecilic. And (to be generous) it touches on a fundamental misunderstanding of what we mean when we cry, ‘democracy’.
What we really intend is ‘liberty’.
It is usually the older generations that tend to deny the social value of social networks. In an ironical twist, one of their oldest member, Pat Buchanan, wisely demonstrates the universal value of website like Facebook and Twitter.
As Egyptians fight for democracy, a closer look at the world’s first democratic republic. The United States Constitution reveals not a wholehearted endorsement of democracy but a group of Founding Fathers with a deep mistrust of completely democratic institutions. The protests in Egypt offer the promise of increased democratization. However, simply installing a new regime based on the majority sentiment of the moment could result in a regime far worse than Mubarak’s.